The president also warned Putin that any encroachment or threat to NATO countries would bring a quick and decisive response.
A defiant President Joe Biden had blunt words Friday for Russian President Vladimir Putin: You don’t scare me, and you should be scared of us if you are thinking about following through on your threats.
“America and its allies are not going to be intimidated by Putin and his reckless words and threats,” Biden said at the White House, hours after Putin illegally declared four Ukrainian regions to be part of Russia.
“The United States is never going to recognize this and frankly, the world won’t recognize it either,” Biden added. “He can’t seize his neighbor’s territory and get away with it.”
The president also warned Putin – who has made vague threats of using nuclear weaponry – that any encroachment or threat to NATO countries would bring a quick response.
“America is fully prepared, with our NATO allies, to defend every single inch of NATO territory,” Biden said grimly. “Mr. Putin – don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. Every inch.”
Biden’s remarks came after the White House announced a series of new, “swift and severe” sanctions to punish Russia for its “fraudulent” annexation of Ukrainian territory.
Three federal agencies – Treasury, Commerce and State – detailed new sanctions aimed at Russian banking figures and relatives of Russia’s national security council, international suppliers of Russia’s military operation, and others who are providing help to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and attempt to annex part of its western neighbor.
“The United States condemns Russia’s fraudulent attempt today to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory,” Biden said in a statement Friday morning. “Russia is violating international law, trampling on the United Nations Charter, and showing its contempt for peaceful nations everywhere.
“Make no mistake: these actions have no legitimacy. The United States will always honor Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders,” Biden said.
As part of the added punishments – which are on top of broad economic sanctions the United States has already imposed on Russia since its invasion of Ukraine seven months ago – the State Department is imposing visa restrictions on a Russian soldier named Ochur-Suge Mongush for a “gross violation of human rights perpetrated against a Ukrainian prisoner of war.” State issued the same punishment to 910 individuals, including members of the Russian Federation military, Belarusian military officials, and “Russia’s proxies violating Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
The Treasury Department sanctioned 14 international suppliers for supporting Russia’s military supply chains. The agency also designated 109 additional State Duma members and 169 members of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation as part of the sanctions.
Commerce is adding 57 entities to the “entities list,” meaning they are subject to enhanced export controls, and making it clear that the list can apply to people and groups in third countries that are helping Russia’s military mission. That includes providing technologies and other items prohibited by the United States and allies that have imposed similar sanctions, the agency said.
“We are also issuing a clear warning supported by G7 Leaders: We will hold to account any individual, entity, or country that provides political or economic support for Russia’s illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement announcing the department’s new restrictions on Russian power players.
Speaking at the State Department later in the morning, Blinken reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Ukraine as it fights Russian aggression. “This territory is and will remain Ukrainian,” Blinken said.
The moves come after Putin – who appears increasingly desperate as a defiant Ukraine has reclaimed areas Russia conquered earlier in the war – staged referendums that purportedly showed Ukrainian support to join Russia.
Putin signed decrees Friday to annex four regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – and declared that Ukrainians living there would be “our citizens forever.”
The referendums have been denounced by the international community as illegal and fraudulent. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to liberate the regions.
Source: U.S News